Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats

The lot of rural migrants to the cities of less developed countries would be greatly improved if they received more information about urban job opportunities and living conditions and training for city life before emigrating, and a more supportive reception when they first arrive in the city. Educational curricula, information media, and institutions need to be developed for this purpose.
Intergroup Conflicts
We have seen that in countries that do not have a homogenous population, rapid population growth creates or aggravates political and economic conflicts between racial, cultural, religious, and linguistic groups. The problems of ameliorating these conflicts have not been solved, and they represent a most serious threat to the existence of many states. In some cases, far-reaching measures such as mass migration or fragmentation of states into autonomous or semi-autonomous smaller units may be the only feasible policy options. But governments can do much by a more evenhanded treatment of different groups, providing not only equal but increased educational and employment opportunities and services for all, and by the political and legal devices that protect minorities without jeopardizing the basic interests of the majority.
Through better education and increased opportunities for social mobility, minority groups will learn that population quality is more important than numbers, and that improving quality is largely incompatible with rapidly increasing numbers. Experience shows that, over time, this will lead to lower birth rates and population growth and hence to a reduction in the levels of conflict.
Unemployment and Underemployment
The existence of large and rapidly growing supplies of cheap labor in many less developed countries tends to hold back the adoption of capital-intensive, labor-saving technology in industry, and thereby slows down increases in productivity and in standards of living.
Policies and programs to reduce the growth of the labor force by fertility control can have little effect during the next 15 years, because the young people who will be entering the labor force and seeking employment during that period are already born. For the near future, emphasis needs to be placed on (a) retaining as many workers as possible in agriculture by government policies that favor hand labor and those kinds of mechanization, such as tube wells, small tillers, and grain dryers, that raise the demand for labor by fostering multiple-cropping; (b) service occupations; and (c) relatively small-scale consumer-goods industries that in the aggregate can employ large numbers of workers. At the same time, efforts to increase productivity of these and other workers should be accelerated as rapidly as available resources